Date of Award

4-14-2017

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department

Education

First Advisor

Xu, Shijing

Keywords

Chinese teacher candidates, cross-cultural teacher development, narrative inquiry, reciprocal learning, teacher induction

Rights

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Abstract

This study was founded upon my 5-year intensive fieldwork as a graduate assistant in Dr. Shijing Xu’s Pre-service Teacher Education Reciprocal Learning Program (Xu, 2011b), a part of Xu and Connelly’s (2013) SSHRC Partnership Grant Project between Canada and China. The study adopted Connelly and Clandinin’s (1988) narrative research tradition to examine 4 participating Chinese teacher candidates’ cross-cultural learning and induction experiences. The investigation revealed transitions in the process of learning to teach via cross-cultural experiences. Through the lens of “three-dimensional inquiry space” (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000) and “reciprocal learning in teacher education” (Xu, 2014), I explored experiential nuanced facets of participants’ cross-cultural learning experiences in Canada and stories of induction within various educational cultures in Southwest China. Field texts were collected through participant observation, participants’ reflective journals and portfolios submitted to the program during their 3-month stay in Canada, as well as interviews, debriefing notes, and participants’ observations at their schools after their return to China. The study illustrates an effective approach that fuses teacher education with cross-cultural experience. Both the benefits and challenges of this method of teacher education imply that this practice has significant potential in this interconnected world. Particular attention was paid to cross-cultural experiences’ influence on the dissonance of pedagogies, teacher-student relationships, socialization, and beliefs about teaching and learning that interweave global and national curriculum boundaries. Findings revealed that cross-cultural experiences provided beginning teachers with a global perspective that enabled them to reconsider the local situation, become reflective practitioners, and broaden their horizons. Participants’ notion of being good teachers is deeply rooted in traditional Chinese culture and is heavily influenced by their cross-cultural experiences in Canada. Findings also revealed how Chinese beginning teachers struggle to find their voice and to socialize among a range past practices, lived experiences, and cross-cultural experiences. In these competing narratives of Chinese and Western views, perspectives of what constitutes good teaching and school practices take on more than one level of meaning. It is important to consider Chinese teachers’ current practices as well as how such practices will continue to change and thus influence teaching reforms in the globalized world. The study also demonstrates features of Chinese teacher induction, such as flexibility of time to reflect, significant mentorship and guidance, and various organizational assistance. There is much to be gained from studying how one becomes a teacher both in Canada and China. Chinese teachers’ dedication to teaching and their efforts to improve socialization contribute to teaching and teacher education in the interconnected world.

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